Benny Wenda submitted a petition to Jeremy Corbyn, Member of the UK Parliament and Chairman of the UK Labor Party, July 2017 - Jubi/Victor Mambor

West Papua petition caused a stir, these are responses from Papua


Benny Wenda submitted a petition to Jeremy Corbyn, Member of the UK Parliament and Chairman of the UK Labor Party, July 2017 – Jubi/Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi – A petition claimed to hold the wishes of Papuan people on a referendum in the Land of Papua has been debated since last week among people in the Land of Papua, the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations (UN).

Denials and accusations have sprung up in various national media since the petition was published by the British media, The Guardian. The Indonesian government accused Benny Wenda, the actor behind the petition of lying and spreading hoax.

Quoting the statement of the Chairman of Decolonization Special Committee known as C24, Rafael Ramirez, Permanent Mission of the United Nations in New York said there was no petition from West Papua received by C24.

On the other hand, Benny Wenda said that if the petition was a hoax as stated by the Indonesian government, why would anyone be jailed for organizing the signing of the petition? He already suspects Indonesia will do anything to discredit the petition, himself and other West Papuan leaders, even the people of West Papua.


However, some Papuans have the view that submitting the petition is not a substantial matter. The Indonesian government must recognize that the policy in the Land of Papua has not yet satisfied the Papuan indigenous (OAP).

Response from Papua

Responding to the furor of this petition, Papuan legislator Laurenz Kadepa said the current mutual claims between the Indonesian government and Benny Wenda are not the substance of the Papua issue. The most important thing it should be a lesson for the government so that policies for Papua should be evaluated from all aspects, especially human rights.

“Hoax or true, the petition information is not to be debated. Now the human rights issue in Papua is on the UN agenda and it will be an obstacle for the Indonesian government. Because the states that concern of Papua human rights continue to grow, not just Melanesian countries,” said Kadepa, Sunday (October 1).

“The Indonesian government should correct itself and improve its policy in Papua,” Kadepa continued.

While the Chairman of West Papua National Committee, Victor Yeimo to Benar News confirmed that even if without any petition everyone knows the desire of the people of Papua, which is to hold a referendum as a media to shape the fate of Papuan people.

Regarding the Chairman of C24’s rebuttal, according to Yeimo, if Chairman C24 refuses to accept the petition in his capacity as chairman it is reasonable because the authority of the commission is still in the 17 territorial of non self governance territories. Ramirez has the right to refuse the formal acceptance.

“What must be understood by the people of Papua is the chairman of C24 himself in the interview video said that West Papua was listed by General Assembly. It means he explains the procedural issues that are need to be encouraged. So, the petition is good as public awareness, but the main thing for the Papuan people is to strengthen the strength of domestic struggle, to encourage the liberation process of the people of Papua, “said Yeimo.

The same is said by Markus Haluk, one of the ULMWP’s work teams. In fact, on Tuesday 26 September 2017 Benny Wenda, accompanied by Rex Rumakiek, one of the executives of United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), submitted a petition to the chairman of the UN Decolonization Commission in New York.

“If there is a response from the Government of Indonesia that says it is a lie, I think it’s all okay. We pray and work that in time the truth is upright for the Nation of Papua and Indonesia and the UN,” said Haluk.

ULMWP continues, focusing and working on the right of self-determination without being disturbed by the furor that arose from the petition.

Benny Wenda and his petition

Benny Wenda, a Papuan independence leader claimed to have handed the West Papua People’s Petition to a C-24 representative. After the news of the submission was released by British media, The Guardian, the Government of Indonesia immediately denied it and named the petition as a publicity stunt without any credibility.

To Jubi, Benny Wenda said he submitted the petition to C24 representatives on September 26 at the Office of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He was with Rex Rumakiek who submitted the petition to C-24 representatives.

“More than 70% of the population in Papua wants a referendum in West Papua. Bishop Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky are two of the world’s leading figures who signed the petition, “Benny Wenda told the contents of the petition.

Wenda further said that the people of West Papua who are supported by the international community very much trust in the petition demand. West Papuan people demand West Papua to become a non-self-governing territory with full rights to liberty and freedom.

The signing of this petition does not go smoothly. Recorded petitions distributed online through the site were blocked by the Indonesian government by the end of 2016. Similarly, petitions were manually executed since April 2017. According to the ULMWP records, 57 people were arrested for supporting the petition. Among them are Yanto Awerkion, Vice Chairman of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) of Mimika and its secretary Sem Ukago on Tuesday (December 7, 2016).

“Yanto and Sem are threatened with Article 169 of the Criminal Code for participating in associations aimed at committing a crime, or participating in other associations prohibited by general rules, are punishable by imprisonment of up to six years,” added Benny Wenda.

Indonesian denial

The petition has made the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York, Triansyah Djani, issued a press release quoting an interview with Rafael Ramirez.

“As the Chairman of the UN Decolonization Special Committee (C-24), I and the Committee Secretariat, have never received, formally or informally, any petition or anyone about Papua as reported in the Guardian newspaper,” Rafael Ramírez said in a press release.

Ambassador Ramirez further affirmed that he highly respects the integrity and sovereignty of all members. The mandate of the Decolonization Committee, he added, is limited to 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories and Papua is not included in the 17 territories.

Ramirez’s statement is supported by an interview video broadcasted extensively through a youtube channel by the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, New York.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir, who participated with the Indonesian delegation at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, called the petition an unfounded action.

“It’s a pure publicity action without credibility,” he said, quoted by The Guardian.

Papua, continued Nasir is an integral part of Indonesia as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly resolution 2504 (XXIV) 1969.

Support of British MPs

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of England is fully supports the West Papua people’s petition. APPG release received by Jubi on Wednesday (September 27) said this petition provides strong evidence that the people of West Papua want to express their hope for a better future.

Therefore, according to Hon. Alex Sobel, APPG member (from the British labor party) acknowledged that all APPG members support West Papuan people in calling for their inalienable right to self-determination democratically, so that they can freely decide their own future peacefully.

“We will also step up this significant development with the British Government,” Alex Sobel said.

Sobel continued, West Papua people have experienced more than 50 years of widespread human rights violations without a satisfactory solution. So it is clear that in a situation that continues to deteriorate, the people of West Papua are not secure under Indonesian occupation.( Ariane)

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